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2014-11-29 – 001-007 – HDR – Longsword
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My Rawlings synthetic longsword with a steel crossguard and aluminum pommel for weight. Dogtags for scale, books for learning, and Skyrim with some metal for motivation.

TLDNR: All sword simulators from wood to blunts have their use in recreating the treatises. For me this synthetic longsword is safer and more realistic than the wooden waster that Arya was using in Game of Thrones but it’s far more inexpensive and safer than very good blunt steel sparring swords such as Federschwerts. At USD for the price tag it really is a excellent sword simulator for newcomers. Much more advanced students will uncover steel Feders to be a better option.

A Feder with a soft steel blade from Hanwei is about USD but expect excellent ones from Albion and Regenyei Armory to start off at about USD and up. Finally I’m not a lawyer so please verify the *written* nearby laws on regardless of whether transporting a covered sharp sword in public is legal or if a sword-shaped foam would be considered a weapon. In the United States city, county, and state laws can differ from every other.

Some German longsword action using Federschwerts and blunts:

Some Italian longsword action making use of Federschwerts:

I am not familiar with Talhoffer but the controversial John Clements performs this quite interesting interpretation of half-swording:

Ok it is going to be asked: yes you can grab sharp blades on some swords with out cutting your self if you avoid the edges or if stress is applied to avert slipping (but don’t do this with out instruction by instructors!!):

**Thank You Lindybeige, Skallagrim, and Scholagladiatoria**

I was reading a gaming forum on Guy Fawkes Day when the discussion of throwing knives behavior in the V for Vendetta movie led me to Lindybeige’s YouTube channel. While clips of his swing dance and wargame modeling have been interesting the main draw was the discussion of weapons and a variety of historical subjects in bite-sized servings. Indirectly I found Skallagrim’s channel from associated videos and topic searches exactly where he assisted by his wife Cara introduced and explain standard historical combat in a really simple to comprehend manner. Scholagladiatoria’s videos usually appear as well with even much more in-depth discussions.

Although there may be disagreements in opinion they correspond with each and every other cordially by offering various viewpoints and are generally the three advisable channels when discussing historical European combat in English. So even even though I was quite aware of the New York Instances video article on Longpoint 2014 back in September, thank you guys for displaying that any individual can pick up a longsword simulator and have a go with it in about a week right after watching a couple of videos.

I am paying it forward with this lengthy assessment for all those who do not know about Historical European Martial Arts or HEMA.

Some Background

Let me preface this that I’ve just began and know most likely as much as a person who have taken a short introductory session. I have never held a museum sword piece or even fine replicas such as those from Albion despite the fact that I have encounter wall hangers, poor heavy replicas, and other Sword-Like Objects.

Clearly there is considerably a lot more than longswords with Historical European Martial Arts or HEMA covering polearms, bows, and even WW2 bayonets. I decided that the longsword is a very good location to start off from as there are several treatises on it, is regarded as a good foundation to have that can be employed for other arms, and is two-handed so the physical and mental barrier to entry is reduced than say a 1-handed sword and buckler. Plus it really is a friggen sword.

What makes HEMA part of but distinct from Western Martial Arts or WMA is the attempt to reconstruct as close to the sources as achievable rather than add something modern day. In contrast to a lot of other martial arts longsword living information has been broken and this gap demands scholarly study and experimental archeology to verify each other. Interestingly Chinese two-handed sword tactics have been lost and reconstructed then adapted a lot of instances in history so what HEMA and WMA are doing isn’t a modern idea.

Normally I would begin by checking with schools prior to obtaining gear. But with schools some distance away my ambitions are basic solo method drills mixed with historical investigation that will market well being, understanding of history, combat participant’s mentality, and philosophical enlightenment. Eventually sparring and classes will be essential to progress but for now very basic strength instruction and investigation (along with poor foot work and plain incorrect positioning) are adequate of a preoccupation. Consistency very first, then correction.

Clearly a waster or sword simulator for practice was required, one thing that is a good approximation of a longsword and can deal with contact sparring at an affordable price. Some sword simulators can handle the rigors of approach drills but not sparring they are not component of the discussion here. Trainers such as MBlades’ Swing are very good for confined spaces but they are not meant for sparring and there is no way to practice half-swording tactics with them.

Wooden swords or wasters have a extended historical pedigree and several nonetheless swear by them. They can be too light, bounce on get in touch with, and are too dangerous during thrusts simply because they do not flex. &quotControl!&quot people will cry, but as a beginner with no pell encounter it really is far better to err on the side of safety. I actually like blunt steel Federschwerts or Feders – also a standard education tool – but good ones are pricey. Feders from Albion and Regenyei Armory commence at about USD and up.

The expense increases further due to the fact of the protection essential for inexperienced sparring. For those deciding on Feders sparring with against other Feders with the same blade hardness will prolong blade life for all participants. A steel Federschwert utilizing an adjustable screw-held pommel will have to wait for now. Great blunt swords are closer in handling with sharps, but they flex a lot more for security (normally much less than Feders but not often) and due to the fact they are blunt the edges do not stick. They are way beyond my price range and safety needs anyway. Actually, synthetic nylon swords are the only remaining choice.

I’ve read very great items about Purpleheart Armoury’s Type III Pentti and Black Fencer’s Like Steel Waster Longsword V3. They had been either a small too stiff or also expensive so I went with Rawlings. Everything’s that been talked about have their location in recreating the treatises, it really is just that I’m deciding their usefulness to my scenario.

Rawlings Synthetic Longsword Assessment

The parts were ordered from Purpleheart Armoury, an American firm that imports Western Martial Arts and Historical European Martial Arts gear from Europe. Every element had to be chosen separately and with every little thing except for the pommel made in the UK, I opted for a steel crossguard and a 5&quot extended aluminum pommel for weight and balance simulation. The cost for my build is USD prior to tax and shipping.

My order needed a few adjustments but there had been no replies to my emails. It wasn’t till the sword arrived that I was capable to confirm that the adjustments were certainly applied so great on Purpleheart Armoury for rapidly processing and order adjustments, I just want they would be a lot more communicative in maintaining their consumers in the loop. The pieces came in a extended rectangular box disassembled but assembly is easy adequate that no directions were essential.


The 38&quot lengthy blade has a lenticular geometry and even though considerably thicker than the real article it has a moderate distal and profile tapering that aids in balance as properly as safe sparring by decreasing mass at the effect point. For additional security the tip and edges are well rounded with good flex at the last third of the blade for protected thrusting. All of this tends to make the blade also whippy during full speed swings but truly metal sword simulators endure from this to some degree as properly even though they are considerably far more resistant to taking a set or bend.

The 8&quot plastic tang encases a lengthy metal screw rod that ensures all components will be held in place. The thread for the pommel came greased and for maintenance I recommend a water displacement such as WD-40 be utilised for cleaning off old grease and other contaminants followed by a really light coating of lubricant such as viscous machine grease.

Of note is that my blade flat had some excess molding material giving an appearance of dripping wax and anxiety marks. They’re not truly bumpy and this sword isn’t a wall hanger so it is not a issue but it could be for some. Another minor issue are rectangular mold registration points. The two on an edge could affect blade-on-blade influence but are easy to sand smooth. The 1 on the tip protruded adequate to possibly damage fabric for the duration of influence and was meticulously hand-sanded smooth soon after some work.

The blade will take a set from correct straight over time either from storage or temperature adjustments. It is best to hang this point down by the crossguards if possible for storage and blade self-correction. For extreme blade deformations a hot but not boiling water bath for a few minutes will help straighten it back, or modifying it as the case could be.


The 9.5&quot stainless steel casted crossguard has slightly upturned quillions that finish in balls at the tips for safety. It really is held by compression from the pommel against the rubber grip so there is some really slight movement for the duration of severe influence at the guard but nothing at all that’s unsafe. Of note is that my crossguard came with minor cosmetic dings but again this sword is meant to be used. I’ve study from other people’s experiences that this guard can chew nylon blades after many enthusiastic sparring sessions.

The steel guard delivers greater protection for the hands and even in the course of strategy drills the added weight tends to make issues a little a lot more realistic so it’s suggested. The quillions aren’t thick sufficient to get in the way of fingering the guard, thumbing the blade, or simulate an overhand palm-up sword-throwing hold that would be at residence in a judicial duel to settle a domestic dispute.


The longsword grip is sticky rubber that also compress against the crossguard with the aid of the pommel. It really is sufficient but robust gloves such as leather work gloves are advisable against effect shock. An additional purpose is that when the grip gets wet dragging the palm across the surface will make eraser-like particles of rubber. Wrapping grip tape may possibly aid.

It could not be apparent but the grip is oval at the crossguard and gradually becomes cylindrical towards the pommel which is fantastic. A lot of fantasy swords get this incorrect since the oval serves as a tactile indicator of exactly where the blade is oriented. An imprecise cutting angle with a true blade can cause an ineffective bounce or can reduce the blade into a shower of sharp projectiles so this detail aids in forming very good habits during practice.

The interior of the grip is sticky making it quite difficult to slide over the tang and because of the imprecise match there will be a noticeable tacky sensation as it shifts slightly in the course of swinging. I employed some talcum powder to eliminate it and to help disassembly. Much less then a pinch applied directly to the tang is all that’s required – seriously, as well a lot will improve movement of the grip that can result in premature put on.

Speaking of which I noticed white scratch marks on the rubber that I have no thought how they have been made. When I tried to brush them smooth with my fingers the ridges from my finger prints made fresh white lines. This is the least durable element right here but luckily it’s also the cheapest to replace.

Update 2016-02-29
Some folks have asked how to steer clear of abrasions when drilling bare-handed since the rubber grip unlike leather is a bit also grippy. I’ve employed child powder for a few months which worked truly nicely before switching back to gloves due to the fact of tension marks on the palms appeared and common tenderness from drilling without having shock protection. Other options other men and women have suggested in forums incorporate thin fingerless gloves and re-wrapping the grip. Rewrapping can be accomplished easily with grip tape and will most most likely avert the waster from straightforward disassembly for travel.

Re-wrapping may possibly also assist with a slipping effect the loose grip provides when rotational forces are applied, typically in the course of fast guard transitions that offers the waster a momentarily unsteady, mushy response. I’ve seen men and women created wood grips then wrapped in leather for their federschwert, something I am certain the identical can be carried out in a way that will let disassembly for this synthetic waster.

Other attainable options I have not noticed tested are adding shims or apply thin tape onto the tang and mallet the rubber grip on.

The rubber grip itself has held up nicely. It really is quite slightly looser than initially but I believe it can make it through the rest of this year. The tang has rubber residues from the grip which sometimes wants to be cleaned off with isopropyl alcohol. Other than that some light application of infant energy nevertheless operate to stop tackiness when rotational forces are applied.


Historically pommel weight for balancing in genuine swords was a secondary function and in fact numerous have been hollow. Right here it really is a weight. I decided on the five&quot extended mainly solid aluminum pommel (not the PHA or Pentti pommels) for my build alternatively of the nylon pommel for weight and balance. The two grip bevels and the border in between the pommel’s round bottom and the adjacent angled facet were each so slightly sharp for comfort so liquid abrasive was employed. The soft aluminum readily lends itself very well for polishing but it really is insanely straightforward to get scratches. Placing the sword on the ground pommel-1st will assure gouges to the finish. Of fantastic concern although is that repeated disassembly or looseness can improve the possibility of stripping the pommel’s threads.

I found out later that many people prefer this extension for the length benefit it gives for the duration of a bout, an benefit that’s slight compared to fighter knowledge. For me it gives very good simulated weight, greater leverage, and much more tactical possibilities. It creates a extremely comfortable 13&quot, 3 hand-width grip-space and general the beveling was nicely carried out, generating this a very good choice for a person who’s interested in some of the German longsword treatises.

For these that choose a much more lively handling snug grip that will not get in the way with a single hand use, anything that gives tiny for an opponent to grab, or for those who make a decision to stick to treatises that require a shorter two hand-width grip but still desire some weight stainless steel brief pommels are also obtainable.

Update 2016-02-29:
Aluminum is soft. Even if cared for the pommel will get dinged on a functioning waster. As a former aircraft maintainer aluminum will definitely corrode in harsh environments. There’s no corrosion on the pommel so far but it is in no way close to salt water and meals-grade mineral oil is lightly applied right after cleaning and coating my montante waster.


With a blade length of 38&quot and a total length of 52&quot the synthetic sword built is fundamentally a Oakeshott Typology Sub-Type XVIIIb with a rounded tip. The weight is inside historical ranges at about three lbs. but mass has been moved towards the guard to reduce tip influence force as a trainer. The point of balance is about 1&quot away from the crossguard center tip, a tiny close but once again done for security and is nevertheless within the historical range for some longswords.

From almost everything I’ve read and observed the thickness of the blade creates aerodynamic drag that tends to make it slower than a metal blade throughout a swing. The relative lightness makes it possible for it to accelerate quicker helping with directional alterations so I suspect this nuance is what people are unconsciously implying when they say that synthetics are more rapidly. I never know if it is intentional but the tip creates an audible noise when a reduce is completed with the blade angled straight by way of the cutting path which can be incredibly useful for coaching.

As pointed out during complete speed swings the blade can get a little whippy but half-swording methods and even Mordhau is still totally feasible. Wearing padded operate gloves I was in a position to simply finger the guard for greater point manage. Thumbing the blade to assist in rotations or sticking the thumb up to shield it from an attack on the inside-line is also extremely simply accomplished.

Binding is unrealistic of course as real sharpened swords will stick to every single other extremely securely throughout edge-on-edge get in touch with alternatively of sliding around. This is one thing that also affects dull metal blades. Some HEMA practitioners are testing 3M friction tapes, grip tape, and other options on synthetic blades edges. The sword flats should stay slippy by becoming tape-free of charge. From what is been reported taping is not as excellent as sharp edge binds but it makes it possible for a much much better binding and winding simulation than blunt swords. Skin make contact with at speed can generate some negative abrasions so dress accordingly.

Whether synthetic or blunts for sparring it is ideal to use like-with-like since blades can behave differently and can even harm every single other at a rate that will outpace their intended life span. There are some really reasonably priced sword simulators such as these from Cold Steel that are as balanced as clubs and the material is reasonably rigid making them harmful. Overlook about utilizing PVC pipes, they have a tendency to shatter into sharp pieces and aluminum blades are not helpful at all due to the fact their behavior deviates from steel so drastically.


I agree with the philosophy that elevated dangers adds to increased respect, but up to a certain point. I am a beginner and we have modern day understanding and protective technologies so I’ll leave the advanced fencing approaches to the authorities. Considering that I am soloing for now I might at most put on operate gloves to avoid ripping off calluses. For sparring with synthetics the minimum protection advisable is as follows:

-A HEMA-rated face mask with back of head protection Kendo and sport fencing masks cannot manage the added force involved and gives no back protection for the head.

-A separate gorget throat protector will assist stop the crushed windpipes and broken collar bones.

-A chest protector, gambson or fencing jacket, preferably with the potential to insert a separate gorget underneath. Folks have identified built-in throat protectors are not as efficient as a separate gorget.

-Thick gloves to defend against broken fingers. Spend especially added focus to side finger and finger tip protection.

-Male cup for the gents or female cup for the ladies.

Optional gear consists of fencing pants, limb guards, joint guards, and so on. This isn’t all inclusive and HEMA-rated gear are still becoming updated. Using wooden wasters and steel will of course enhance the level of protection necessary compared to synthetics. Also armor remains a compromise among protection, mobility, and expense. Limbs still bend particular methods so many of the half-swording and wrestling methods are quite hazardous if done at full speed.

Making use of a pell to swing near-complete speed then stopping just prior to effect or softening the effect can increase manage and training companion survival rate. Normally far more experience and familiarity with education partners will demand less protection, inexperience, enhanced speed, or unfamiliarity with opponents such as during a tournament will demand much more. Wearing all of this gear can get incredibly hot so hydrate to stop heat stroke and make certain other folks do the exact same, particularly in many events held in the open with no shade.


For transport a friend recommended a cloth Naginata bag for the blade that was on sale at E-Bogu. The sword will have to be disassembled of course but that need to aid with peaceful intent if questioned by law enforcement.

I am not a lawyer but according to the Seattle Municipal Code as lengthy as the sword is covered for transport to or from an occasion or private location and it’s not becoming brandished it should be ok. Law enforcement will nevertheless have the potential to detain so be specialist and if it really is a new club have insurance coverage and uniforms. Otherwise stick to Wheaton’s Law.


These that are pondering of attempting out HEMA will find this synthetic sword to be pretty excellent and is most likely a single of the best in it’s value category. It’s safer and more realistic than wooden waster sparring swords but more reasonably priced and all issues being equal safer than good blunt sparring swords and Federschwerts. Even though the metal components far more than double the price I would still advocate acquiring them if you happen to be in the exact same position of not being capable to get a Feder.

But prior to rushing out to get this do ask the club that you happen to be going to train with and see what they advise for gear. Otherwise like most things go with your price range and your ambitions. Thanks for reading, stay secure and have a good fight.


Basic properties of swords:

Some variations in between sharp swords and blunts:…

Oakeshott Typology

Sparring swords introduction:

Why a sword feels right:


New York Occasions on Longpoint 2014:…

HEMA Alliance club finder (doublecheck locations):

Using distinct coaching tools and their qualities for correct reconstruction:

Video assessment of numerous Rawlings synthetic swords:

A more crucial evaluation of an older generation of this synthetic longsword:…

How to get into Historical European Martial Arts:…

Longsword education tips:…

Sword Carolina has superb solo education videos:

Sword School is a supplement to fencing manuals by Guy Windsor:

Flying with Swords (some great guidance from experiance):

How to be comfortable wearing safety gear: to be-co…

Seattle Municipal Code – Chapter 12A.14 – Weapons Handle:…

Albion Swords (higher quality and high-priced):

Black Fencer (their synthetic swords are preferred by some for their rigidity):

E-Bogu (martial arts stuff for the Bruce Lees and Master Kens):

Hanwei Federschwerts (CAS Iberia is importer, Hanwei is hit or miss do research):

MBlades Swing compact sword simulator:

Purpleheart Armoury (sword simulators, HEMA security gear, and so on.):

Regenyei Armory (good top quality potentially extended wait, importer is HEMA Supplies):


The Swordsman’s Companion by Guy Windsor is a education manual that mostly follows the &quotItalian tradition&quot employing Fior di Battaglia as a supply. It is a excellent manual for longsword beginners.…

Sword School, supporting videos for The Swordsman’s Companion:

Sigmund Ringeck’s Knightly Arts of Combat by David Lindholm and Peter Svärd is a coaching manual that primarily follows the &quotGerman tradition&quot mostly employing Sigmund Ringeck’s Fetchbuch as a supply. Far more of a supplement it covers sword and buckler, wrestling, polearms, and half-swording. Interpretations on mounted cavalry was not incorporated.…


BWF – Box. Wrestle. Fence.

Encased in Steel

Fight with All Your Strength

Guy Windsor

I never do longsword

The Hema-Tome

The HEMAists

The Ring of Steel

Amazing YouTube channels




Sword Carolina

Update 2016-05-02:
Skallagrim has created an updated review and it is unfavorable for the Rawlings. Based on every thing else consistently written or stated by distinct people and clubs his comments are pretty on mark. The blade for my Rawlings longsword is nowhere as versatile as shown in the video due to the fact it’s not used for effect operate on a pell, and the weight is closer to a steel federschwert than BlackFencer’s synthetic longswords. For my personal use and considering Seattle city parks have legal restrictions dealing with something that can be mistaken for an actual weapon I wouldn’t hesitate to get another a single limited to solo drills.

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